Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Ground Venison Pizza

Along with experimenting with a whole wheat thin crust pizza dough, I have also been playing around with different pizza toppings. I had come across an amazing full-bodied pizza sauce recipe in my search, and had tried pairing it with some hot sopressata - but the sauce was so strong it masked the flavor of the sopressata!

Then, an idea came to me to pair the sauce with ground venison. As I had mentioned previously, we have meat from a whole deer in our freezer, and so I have been trying use it up in creative ways. Ground venison was particularly abundant, but I wasn't a fan of the gameyness that I could still taste in it. (Interestingly, I don't have the same problem with any other cut - just the ground.) Hence, I thought the rich pizza sauce might help take the edge off of it.

The result turned out quite well! The sauce and the meat were a good balance for each other flavor-wise, and while the gamey flavor of the meat was largely gone, one can still taste the unique flavor of the venison. I suppose ground beef would do well with this sauce also, but I haven't tried it.

  • 1 14-inch pizza crust
  • ¾ lbs ground venison
  • ¼ onion, chopped
  • ½ cup mushroom, sliced
  • 4 sprigs fresh rosemary leaves
  • a handful of shredded mozzarella cheese
For the sauce: (original recipe here)
  • 1 (6 oz) can tomato paste
  • 6 fl. oz. warm water (110˚F/45˚C)
  • 3 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1 tsp anchovy paste (optional)
  • ¾ tsp onion powder
  • ¼ tsp dried oregano
  • ¼ tsp dried marjoram
  • ¼ tsp dired basil
  • ¼ tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/8 tsp dried red pepper flakes
  1. Preheat oven to 475˚F.
  2. To make the sauce, combine tomato paste, water, Parmesan cheese, garlic, honey, anchovy paste, onion powder, oregano, marjoram, basil, ground black pepper, cayenne pepper, red pepper flakes and salt in a small bowl; mix together, breaking up any clumps of cheese. Let sit for 30 minutes to blend flavors.
  3. Lightly coat a skillet with cooking spray and cook ground venison on medium high heat until browned. Drain.
  4. Spread sauce over pizza crust. Top with venison, mushroom, onion, and cheese. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove from oven, and top with rosemary.

Ground Venison Pizza (pre-baking)
Ready for the oven

Ground Venison Pizza
Ground Venison Pizza - the finished product

Ground Venison Pizza Slice
Ground Venison Pizza

Ground Venison Pizza Slice (side view)
Ground Venison Pizza (side view)